How to Talk to Your Doctor About Endometriosis?
Despite affecting up to 10% of women of reproductive age, endometriosis is still often misdiagnosed. Delays in diagnosis can reach up to seven years, as there is still a lack of knowledge and awareness about the condition among many doctors.
As endometriosis can have a significant impact on a woman’s wellbeing and even lead to infertility, it is important that you advocate for yourself when visiting your physician. This includes knowing the possible cause of your symptoms using good sources of information like Dr. Seckin’s webpage.
Preparation before seeing the endometriosis doctor
When visiting the doctor’s office, preparation is key because appointments can often feel rushed, as model, actress, and television producer Corrine Foxx, an endometriosis patient, shared in a recent Instagram live event with Dr. Seckin.
This preparation includes taking notes of your questions before the appointment. These questions may include:
- What is the causes of my symptoms?
- What are my treatment options?
- How will the treatment affect me?
- What to do if my symptoms don’t improve?
- What will happen if I choose not to proceed with any treatment?
- How will the disease/treatment affect my fertility?
- What are my options for fertility preservation?
You can also ask about how the doctor will diagnose you and what type of support is available to you, including more information about the condition, support groups, and possible connections with other patients.
At the appointment
When visiting the doctor, which can be your primary or family doctor, a gynecologist, or an endometriosis specialist such as Dr. Seckin, you should try and make the most of your visit. You might want to bring someone with you to the appointment to offer support. This can help you make more of your visit, as your friend/family member can think of other questions to ask or issues to discuss.
Remember that the doctor will also have questions for you, so be prepared. These usually include information about all medicines you are taking to manage your endometriosis and other conditions, information about your symptoms such as when they started, whether they get worse at specific times of the month, what provides relief, and if other family members also have endometriosis. As such, it is important that you track and keep a detailed record of your symptoms.
It is also important to share all these details with your doctor, so be open and don’t forget to bring a journal/phone to take note of all the advice and information the doctor will give you.
If you are not happy change doctors
Don’t be afraid to seek out another doctor, if you feel you are not being heard or properly cared for. As Dr.Seckin explained in a recent interview:
“This is what I warn patients to be careful of. When you go for a consult, you should not be rushed. The doctor should take time, be patient, and ask you questions in every aspect of how endometriosis could be affecting you.“
According to Dr. Seckin, the best way to tell if a doctor takes your care seriously is if he or she is thinking in a symptom-directed way and spending the time to listen to you.
“They should share their statistics, they should be able to give their time,” he says.